September 9, 2010

no mans land

I've made it to Paris, and excited to get out and about here, almost a new start after what felt like a very bungled and exhausting time in Berlin. My attempt to get to two places on my last night failed on both accounts. The U-Bahn (subway) line to where I was going was closed for construction, so I decided to try making it to the Jewish Museum anyway by taking a different line and transferring to another. It wasn't likely that I'd make it in time, but might as well try. Of course, I then got off at the wrong stop, and that one error immediately turned it into zero chance of getting there before they stopped admitting people. So I gave up and decided to try to find the other stop, a european Footlocker store (they sell a style of Nikes I love that can only be bought there - yeah, I know, shut up.) So I took the train back to Potsdamer Platz and attempted in vain to find the store, but couldn't. It turns out either that store has been closed or hasn't opened yet. It's listed, but only as an address. The bungled weekend was piling on. I was ready to go home. But I did remember that I was also near the almost-unmarked spot of the bunker where Hitler died, so I set off to find it. I did, and in a very Berlin-surrealist way, its nothing but a sign explaining the site sitting in front of an apartment building on a quiet side street. Like most signs of the war or the divided Berlin, it is almost invisible. The sign there now was only put up in 2006 due to the World Cup tourist demand. A couple blocks away, I ran across a patch of barren land that you often find in places in Berlin that also is one of the few remaining scars of the divided city. Areas with lots of buildings suddenly stop abruptly in two places with a big patch of land in between. And almost tell-tale new developments fill space nearby that would be in the same barren path. Perhaps a fitting cap to an odd few days.

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